Multipath Transmission for the Internet: A Survey

Ming Li, Andrey Lukyanenko, Zhonghong Ou, Antti Ylä-Jääski, Sasu Tarkoma, Matthieu Coudron, Stefano Secci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Smart devices equipped with multiple network interfaces are becoming commonplace. Nevertheless, even though multiple interfaces can be used to connect to the Internet, their capabilities have not been fully utilized yet because the default TCP/IP stack supports only a single interface for communication. This situation is now changing due to the emergence of multipath protocols on different network stack layers. For example, many IP level approaches have been proposed utilizing tunneling mechanisms for hiding multipath transmission from the transport protocols. Several working groups under IEEE and IETF are actively standardizing multipath transmission on the link layer and transport layer. Application level approaches enable multipath transmission capability by establishing multiple transport connections and distributing data over them. Given all these efforts, it is beneficial and timely to summarize the state-of-the-art, compare their pros and cons, and discuss about the future directions. To that end, we present a survey on multipath transmission and make several major contributions: 1) we present a complete taxonomy pertaining to multipath transmission, including link, network, transport, application, and cross layers; 2) we survey the state-of-the-art for each layer, investigate the problems that each layer aims to address, and make comprehensive assessment of the solutions; and 3) based on the comparison, we identify open issues and pinpoint future directions for multipath transmission research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7501871
Pages (from-to)2887-2925
Number of pages39
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Multipath transmission
  • packet reordering
  • resource pooling
  • TCP-friendly

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